Destination Medical Center Corporation Board Approves Discovery Walk Accessibility Enhancements and 2022 Workplan

During the September 30, 2021 Destination Medical Center Corporation (DMCC) board meeting directors approved additional accessibility enhancements to Discovery Walk as a result of the Community Co-design process. Additional enhancements include a snowmelt system and three community spaces with weather-protected seating.

Two Community Co-designers, Jenny Rho and Krista Jacobson, joined the DMCC board meeting to share about the importance of the additional enhancements to the final design of Discovery Walk.

“The snowmelt system is very important to people like me who are wheelchair-bound,” said Krista Jacobson, member of the co-design team. “There are many other community members and Mayo Clinic visitors, that depend on features like snowmelt to get us safely around downtown in the wintertime.”

Community Co-Designers Jenny Rho (left) and Krista Jacobson, at a co-design session in February 2020.

Discovery Walk is a soon-to-be four-block linear parkway in downtown Rochester along 2nd Avenue SW in the Discovery Square sub-district. Its multipurpose public space and streetscape will prioritize pedestrian experience while also maintaining flexibility for bike and vehicular access, civic events, and support transformational future development.

“The Discovery Walk plan is a vision with a twelve-month outdoor experience. It builds a welcoming environment for everyone including wheelchair-users. We are thankful for the insight of the co-designers in this process,” said DMCC Board Chair R.T. Rybak.

DMC, in partnership with the City of Rochester worked with seven Community Co-Designers to help guide the design process of Discovery Walk. Co-Designers are connectors to under-represented community members with different perspectives – cultural, religious, mobility, mental health, and socio-economic. The Community Co-Designers engaged with their communities to discuss how design and programming can be inclusive. Construction on Discovery Walk is expected to begin in early 2022 and be completed in 2023.

Additionally, the DMCC board approved the DMC Economic Development Agency’s 2022 workplan and budgets. Strategic direction from the board as well as community engagement, DMC goals, and priorities helped shape the workplan and budget request. Highlighted budget items include Chateau Theatre preservation and activation, downtown sidewalk enhancement, housing, and bio-med-tech space development. Both DMCC Board agenda items, Discovery Walk accessibility enhancements and the 2022 workplan and budget, will be presented in October to Rochester City Council for approval.

The next DMCC Board meeting is set for Thursday, November 4, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.

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